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Top 5 Annoying Winter Stains and How To Remove Them

Welcome to Blog #3: It’s winter everywhere, and maybe you’re hosting more indoor parties than usual with friends and family. In the summer, if someone spills a glass of Merlot and a plate of food on your patio, no big deal. Just wash it down. In your home, and especially on your carpet, that’s a big problem with some items, like wine and spaghetti. Here are the Top 5 worst stains ever, and what you can do about them. Perhaps you can relate:

1. Wine on Carpet. Red wine is absolutely the worst. There’s nothing better than a nice cabernet or merlot at a get together. A few too many glasses and your hand slips. Down goes the glass. If you have white carpet, bye bye carpet….or is there a remedy? Yes, and it involves simple things you already have. First, blot up the spilled wine right away. Get as much of the liquid as you can. Use an up and down blotting motion, and work from the inside out.

Then apply cold water directly to the stain. This will help dilute the remaining wine. Next, pour salt over the stain while it’s wet, and let it sit. The salt will draw the moisture in the stain out of the carpet over the next few hours, but don’t leave it too long. Discard the excess salt and then vacuum the carpet. You can also substitute water for vinegar or dishwashing soap. Repeat if necessary.

2. Winter Salt Stains on Hardwood Floors. If you live where salt is applied to driveways, streets and sidewalks to melt snow and ice, you may not realize that dragging that salt into the house adversely affects your beautiful hardwood floors. Add a party, and it’s a mess. What can you do besides making your partygoers remove their shoes at the door?

The solution is easy: First, grab your vacuum and run it over your dry floor to remove any salt crystals as well as dirt tracked in. Mix vinegar in a gallon of water. Spray the salt-stained area of your floor with the vinegar and water solution. Mop the floor with a dry towel or microfiber mop. The trick is to act fast. Salt on wooden floors will erode the beautiful surface over time. Devote some time each week to keeping your floor beautiful.

3. Ash stains on the fireplace and hearth—what do you do? You have a fireplace because you love the mood it enhances and it feels cozy in the wintertime. Unfortunately, wood and commercial fire logs leave ash residue. Over time, the residue affects the chimney and your hearth. Your brick can go from a beautiful dark red to ashen black, and neglect makes it more difficult to remove. Keep on top of it and use this cleaning tip to return the hearth to its beautiful original color. To clean, mix equal parts vinegar and water and combine in a spray bottle. After using a brush or sponge to remove as much of the ash as possible, spray the bricks with the solution. Let it sit for a few minutes and spray again. Baking soda and dish detergent, or even water and cream of tartar paste also works great. Clean the surface with a work towel. Repeat the process if necessary. That will restore your fireplace back to its original appearance.

4. Water stains from snow in the entryway? In the previous century, many homes were built with mudrooms. Mudrooms were usually a second, less formal entryway into the home where people could remove their boots and clean off mud and wet snow. Unfortunately, most homes nowadays no longer have a mudroom. What do you do about accumulated snow water on the floor? The problem is that snow includes all sorts of additional ingredients, like dirt and grime. Keep a micro-fiber pad around at all times. These mops have a higher percentage of surface area to trap dust, dirt and grime. Add a sensitive floor cleaning agent or detergent and clean the floors multiple times a week when residue is visible. Depending on the floor, this needs to be addressed continually during bad weather.

5. Tomato based stains from that Italian dinner with the family. Spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, ketchup, you name it. Many winter feasts include some type of tasty Italian dish. Add a carpet and an accident-prone uncle, and it could end up on your carpet. To get that sauce out, use this tip: grab a clean paper towel, and firmly press on the stain to absorb the sauce. Mix 2 cold cups of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. Soak a sponge in the solution and blot the affected area. Rinse the carpet with cold water and pat dry with a clean towel. Repeat as necessary.

Do you have tips of your own on tackling winter’s worst stains? Share them here. We welcome your recommendations!

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